Star Wars: Darth Vader #32 Review

Writer: Greg Pak

Artist: Ibraim Roberson

Colorist: Federico Blee

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Cover Artists: Rahzzah; Pepe Larraz; Peach Momoko; Chris Sprouse, Karl Story & Neeraj Menon;

Publisher: Marvel

Price: 3.99

Release Date: March 22, 2023

Dormé, Rabé, Saché and Eirtaé once served Queen Padmé on Naboo. Now they help Darth Vader rescue Sabé from rebel leader Jul Tambor. They watch aghast as she once again looks to Darth Vader for leadership. Can these former royal handmaidens free their friend from Vader’s corrupting influence? Let’s activate our lightsabers, dive into Star Wars: Darth Vader #32, and find out!

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Vader argues that Jul Tambor will continue to attack civilian targets. The only way the former handmaidens can stop him is with his help. Dormé knows Sabé’s heart is in the right place but refuses to let her friend decide to serve the Empire. She grabs Sabé and attempts to escape with her friends. But Sabé refuses to be rescued! She’s chosen her priorities. Her immediate goal? She must bring down rebel leader Jul Tambor.

Greg Pak compares Sabé with Padmé in Revenge Of The Sith and Dormé with Luke in The Empire Strikes Back. He reminds us we must respect others’ decisions, no matter how wrong they seem. Like Luke in A New Hope, Dormé must accept Sabé’s decision. To paraphrase Princess Leia: “She must choose her own path. No one can choose it for her.” I especially like how Dormé, Jul Tambor, and Darth Vader each view power differently. It reminds me why Anakin ultimately embraced the power of the Dark Side in Revenge Of The Sith: to correct the inequities of the Old Republic and protect those he loved.


Padmé’s former handmaidens leap off the page and fly toward me with their gravity boots. Jul Tambor exhibits more personality than his grandfather in Revenge Of The Sith (although, admittedly, he didn’t have a big part in the film). It’s hard to imagine Darth Vader looking more powerful and expressive in a comic than he ever did in the movies. Yet somehow, Ibraim Roberson manages it in Star Wars: Darth Vader #32.

Federico Blee gives the handmaidens realistic skin colors and tones. He makes all the other human and alien characters equally believable. Spaceship interiors show the results of the stresses of spaceflight when they’re not displaying battle damage or gaping holes from sizzling lightsabers. The planet Brentaal IV reminds me of Utah’s Arches National Park after the spring rain, while the brief glimpse of Skako Minor recalls nearby Canyonlands National Park. Blee suffuses flashbacks of Padmé on Mustafar with orange and red and Luke on Bespin with a white haze. Beneath his mask, did Anakin’s eyes fill with moisture when Luke rejected him? In Star Wars: Darth Vader #32, Federico Blee makes me wonder.

While other characters speak with black words in white dialogue balloons, we see Darth Vader’s white words in black dialogue balloons. Letters frequently darken or enlarge to reveal how expressive each character is. Padmé and Luke’s words of rejection appear in ivory or pale rose-tinted dialogue balloons. The way the letters wrestle and swell as Luke’s scream “Noooo!” rings through his mind must rip Vader’s heart out. And then there’s the sound effects: BRRRZZZZZAM for blaster fire, VNNNNNN for Vader’s lightsaber, and the heartbreaking CLICK when Sabé takes off the device that frees her from Dormé’s grasp. While piloting the tie fighter through the narrow canyons of the Death Star, Darth Vader once commented, “The Force is strong with this one.” Those words come back to me when considering Joe Caramagna’s lettering in this issue.

Final Thoughts

Amid action-packed scenes of triumph and betrayal, characters make complex and heartbreaking choices in Star Wars: Darth Vader #32. Heroes seem a little less heroic, and villains a little less villainous, as each strives to protect those they care about and make the galaxy a safer, more equitable, and better place. Place a box of tissues close by when you read this issue. Don’t risk water damage with a comic this good!


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